The Doctor

By Saber ShadowKitten
And Now For Something Completely Different 16

London, 1867

The carriage came to a quick stop outside of a modest row house and a doctor jumped out of the cab. The door to the home opened as he rushed up the steps, unfastening his coat as he entered.

"Right this way, Doctor," the servant girl directed, quickly leading the way after closing the front door.

"What is the problem?" the doctor asked, passing his winter coat into waiting hands as he entered a candle-lit bedroom.

"The babe's stuck, Dr. Bradshaw," the midwife replied, upset, as she moved out of the brunet man's way. "'E or she is breech. I've tried my best--"

"It's all right, Lillian," Dr. Bradshaw said, placating the midwife. He gave her his medical bag, turned to the young mother-to-be on the bed, and smiled gently. "We'll have the babe out shortly."

The doctor checked the sweating, panting mother's pulse. He nodded to himself, then moved to the end of the bed while he rolled up his sleeves. "Do not push until I tell you to, all right?" he told the mother.

The mother-to-be responded affirmatively and Dr. Bradshaw went to work. He kept up an encouraging pratter, despite the thick tension in the bed chamber, as he set about turning the child in the mother's womb. His movements were precise, but gentle, and he caused no more pain to the frightened woman than necessary.

When the wail of a newborn pierced the chamber, the mother and midwife burst into joyous tears. "It's a boy," Dr. Bradshaw announced, "and he's quite the healthy little bugger, too."

Dr. Bradshaw finished cleaning the child, swaddled him in clean birthing blankets, and placed him in his mother's arms. The doctor returned to work, a soft smile on his chiseled face as the new mum cooed and spoke lovingly to the infant. After a few minutes, he allowed the midwife to take over for him, and he started to wash up.

"Dr. Bradshaw," the mother began. "What's your name? Your Christian name?"

"It's William, m'um," Dr. Bradshaw replied.

The mother ran a light finger down her newborn babe's cheek. "Then I shall name him Lavelle William Harris, after his grandfather and you."

William Bradshaw's blue eyes crinkled in the corners and his prominent cheekbones became more defined as he smiled broadly. "No need to do that, m'um. Delivering that precious bundle in your arms was a privilege."

"A precious bundle who almost wasn't birthed," the mother countered. "But because of you, he was." She sighed and held the swaddled child closer to her breast. "I hope that the future generations of Harrises are blessed with a caring man such as yourself."